College Football Cavalcade: 4th Best Team In Playoff Race, Big Ten Kicks Off

Marc Lebryk-USA TODAY Sports

College Football Cavalcade: 4th Best Team In Playoff Race, Big Ten Kicks Off

College Football Cavalcade

College Football Cavalcade: 4th Best Team In Playoff Race, Big Ten Kicks Off


We’re owed a really, really good College Football Playoff after the last two

We’re all going to have some laughs, and we’re all going to kill some time, and we’re all going to have our arguments over the College Football Playoff chase and who the four teams should be, but come on.

Clemson, Alabama, Ohio State.

Those are the three best teams, one of them is going to win the national championship, and yet we’re all going to have to go through the process of making sure someone else gets a cookie with that fourth spot.

Let’s slow the roll on the Tiger, Tide, Buckeye coronation just a wee bit. Every program is one positive test away from everything changing, but let’s assume the three best teams are healthy, the star quarterbacks stay in one piece, and those things go chalk at the top of the ticket.

We’re required by law – I think – to have four teams in this thing, so who’s it going to be? Who really is that fourth best team?

The polls would tell you it’s Notre Dame, but the Coaches Poll also has Penn State two spots ahead of Indiana and the AP just this week put Texas A&M ahead of Florida, even though neither one played. But let’s say it’s Notre Dame. If it gets there, it’ll have certainly earned it.

The Irish get Clemson at home on November 7th and have to go to North Carolina and – don’t scoff – Wake Forest. Get through to the ACC Championship with one loss, win that, and in. No question. But …

This really isn’t a top four team right now.

It’s fine, and the defense is great, but the passing game is too inconsistent and the Irish have yet to play anyone who currently has a winning record.

Speaking of not playing anyone, Oklahoma State beat West Virginia, and it pushed past an Iowa State team by three that got rolled by the Ragin’ Cajuns of Louisiana by 20, and … nah.

It might beat Texas this week, but four of the last five games are on the road. The Cowboys are fine, and if they go unbeaten and win the Big 12 Championship they’re in, but … nah.

Cincinnati is No. 7 in both polls and … come on. You know how this CFP works as well as I do. Also, the last three games – at UCF, at Temple, at Tulsa – aren’t easy before getting to an ACC title game. There’s also Memphis and Houston to deal with.

BYU’s best win if it gets through clean would be at Boise State. Go unbeaten and there’s a spot in the New Year’s Six, but with this schedule, the CFP is a heavy lift.

A whole lot of one-loss teams are technically still alive, but we’re talking about the fourth best team in college football right now.

Georgia, Wisconsin, Michigan, Florida, and I’ll throw in Texas A&M to be nutty. I’ll also give you the potential USC issue.

USC is loaded with experience and a nasty offense that’s going to go off from the start. But would six games against Arizona State, at Arizona, at Utah, Colorado, Washington State, and at UCLA do it? If it beats an unbeaten North team in the Pac-12 Championship, I’ll make the call that it’s in, but that would be a whale of a fight for the committee.

Wisconsin? Let’s do some roll slowing off of one great win over one bad Illinois team. Not helped by the quarterback health issues, there’s probably a loss at Michigan and there’s definitely a loss in the Big Ten Championship if it gets there.

I’m alone on this, but I sort of like Texas A&M. Arkansas, at South Carolina, at Tennessee, Ole Miss, LSU, at Auburn – that’s not quite as bad as it seems. There are too many landmines, though, and the end of the day, it’s still Texas A&M. It’ll blow it.

Michigan looked fantastic against Minnesota. Considering it’ll probably get Wisconsin with its fourth-string quarterback, and Penn State is certainly beatable, this might be a dangerous team in the debate. If it gets to the Ohio State game unbeaten and is merely decent, it’ll have an argument.

However …

At least at the moment, talent-wise, the fourth-best team is probably the winner of Florida-Georgia on November 7th.

The Gators need to D up, and the Dawgs need a QB, but these two have the guys to beat any one of the big three on the right CFP day.

We’ll have our four best teams, and then it all starts up on January 1st … 20-fricking-21.

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